Posted by Viswa Nathan Watch your back, Bongbong Asia Sentinel was held in the Philippines earlier this month by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. He reported on the political tensions erupting between the camps of Rodrigo Duterte and his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte. “This is a cloak and dagger game. Marcos wants to remove some of Duterte's teeth.” Eyes A power struggle has started in the presidential elections to be held fifty years from now. The current tension focuses on two issues First, the fate of Leila de Lima, the former justice minister and chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the Philippines, whom Duterte ordered his arrest as president more than six years ago. in police custody; and the other, the alleged human rights violations and extrajudicial executions that Duterte is seeking to prosecute him by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Duterte is unhappy that the courts have also acquitted Lima in two of the three cases, and that the Marcos administration has accepted this. Duterte's general counsel and former presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said the second acquittal was "flawed" because "the available evidence supports his conviction". So there are grounds for appeal, but the Marcos administration ignored it. ICC is a more challenging subject. The European Union has warned that Manila's stance on investigating Duterte's alleged human rights violations will determine the Philippines' eligibility to continue to enjoy GSP+ privileges that reduce export tariffs to the EU market to zero as a special incentive for developing countries for sustainable development and good governance. . As Manila's access to tariff choices - critical to Marcos' economic development program - will be renewed by the end of this year, a European diplomatic source thinks Marcos will need to find a way to meet ICC requirements at least halfway through. Such an agreement would certainly increase the simmering tensions between the Marcos administration and Duterte. If that wasn't enough to give the president a headache, a much worse situation erupted within the executive group called UniTeam. On May 17, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the scandal-stricken 76-year-old former president whose presidency ended in 2010, now represents Pampanga's second district in the House and is second-in-command to House Speaker Martin Romualdez. The title of assistant spokesperson was stripped from "senior" status without being told or even given a reason for his action. A few things made it interesting. For four days, House Speaker Romualdez, whose privilege it was to elect his deputies to support the House, held his lips tight as allegations that Arroyo was plotting to overthrow him and take over the presidency spread across the country, with the president describing it as a "fugitive". "The mill" is something that normally happens in Congress. It's no secret that Arroyo aspires to the presidency when Marcos won the presidency with his own electoral strategy. He admitted this when responding to allegations that he was planning to overthrow Romualdez. According to a knowledgeable source, the president's cousin was the speaker. His statement that he decided to give in when he realized that he preferred it is close to the truth. Romualdez would not have acted without the president's knowledge, and the president would not have agreed to cast aside without compelling reason a leader he described as his "secret weapon" in formulating foreign relations and who went with him eight out of 11. trips abroad. According to a veteran former MP, Marcos may have come under "unbearable pressure". He implied some kind of horse trade, five years before the next presidential election. Perhaps, he says, the election of Arroyo's successor as senior vice president - Aurelio Gonzales Jr., the sole MP who belongs to Duterte's political party PDP-Laban - is keeping it a secret. This retired MP says Duterte wants someone he can trust in the speaker's seat as well as in Malacañang. He accused Marcos of being a "weak leader" but maintained friendly relations with Romualdez, who had greater ambitions than staying in the speaker's chair. He is likely to run for the Senate seat in 2025, the start of his 2028 presidential candidacy, where he was raised by Marcos. The President took the speaker on all his trips abroad and also took him to one-on-one meetings with his foreign counterparts. When Romualdez decided to run for the Senate, Arroyo, who remained senior vice president, would be the speaker. For Arroyo, such an opportunity is something Duterte cannot digest. He is angry with Arroyo for not heeding the call to run for president in 2022, and for convincing his daughter to run alongside Marcos as vice president partner on a UniTeam ticket. Therefore, when Romualdez left the speaker's seat, Duterte would have preferred someone he could trust as the new speaker as well as the next president if the ICC action continued to hang over his head. If Arroyo becomes the speaker, it could be unimaginably dangerous to Duterte's interests, as he could help his overly independent daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, replace Marcos in 2028. He got Malacañang in 2028 because he was more prone to Romualdez than he was to his daughter or Marcos. While Duterte is considering running for vice president in 2022, he said he would drop the idea if Romualdez chose to seek the position. Whatever conspiracy Duterte is suspected of being involved in, his daughter made a decisive move. Reacting to the infamous treatment of her mentor Arroyo, Sara resigned from Lakas-CMD, of which President Romualdez chaired. As prominent current affairs commentator Randy David said in his May 21 column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Duterte-Carpio described Romualdez's move against Arroyo as "an arrow to his own presidential ambition". Sara is the country's most popular politician, with half a million more votes than Marcos in the 2022 election. Arroyo proved his political acumen by organizing the UniTeam, which helped the ousted dictator's son rise to head of state with a clear majority that no president has since the EDSA uprising. Two women together could prove to be a formidable force, it goes without saying that hell doesn't have as much anger as a humiliated woman. Twelve months ago, when Marcos won his stunning victory at the polls, Asia Sentinel raised the question Will the anti-Marcos forces, though defeated, allow Marcos Jr. to fill the six-year term for which he was elected? Now, the threat seems to come from within the ranks rather than elsewhere, and threatens to tear UniTeam apart.